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Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

Posted January 14, 2011 3:55 PM

From Autoblog:

If you sit down and think about it, the notion of making a left turn across oncoming traffic at a stoplight is pretty absurd. All that stands between you and certain oblivion is the hope that other drivers headed your direction are obeying the speed limit and paying enough attention to notice when the light turns red. Traffic engineers have known for years that hanging a left increases the likelihood of an accident and wastes fuel. The minds at UPS have even gone so far as to design their delivery routes with fewer left turns, and transportation departments all over the country have adopted so-called "superstreets" that force drivers to make a right and then a U-turn in order to go left or straight. Sound absurd? Think again. According to Smithsonian Magazine, researchers at North Carolina State University have found that the superstreet design is more efficient and safer than allowing drivers to turn across traffic. After examining data from 13 superstreet intersections and comparing them to their traditional counterparts, researchers found that, on average, the superstreets delivered a 20-percent decrease in travel time and caused 46 percent fewer reported traffic collisions. More importantly, the superstreet design caused 63-percent fewer accidents that resulted in personal injury. There's some food for thought the next time you're hanging a left.

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#1

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/14/2011 4:43 PM

...force drivers to make a right and then a U-turn in order to go left or straight.

Maybe I'm misreading this... So to go straight through an intersection, I would have to turn right, make a u-turn, and make another right?

Sound absurd? umm... yes. Although "no left turns" in downtown big city traffic have been around ever since I can remember.

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#2

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/14/2011 4:49 PM

Can you say "round-about" boys and girls?

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/14/2011 5:45 PM

Jughandle in New Jersey (and a few other places)

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/14/2011 6:18 PM

Milton Keynes. No contest.

The various versions of Magic Roundabout come a close second equal.

Chelmsford comes third.

11 to 3, bar 3.

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#52
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 1:01 AM

Yes, wonderful New Jersey, Home of the "no left turns" highways.

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#4

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/14/2011 5:45 PM

From the accompanying diagram it appears that the main road can go straight through the intersection and make a left turn, but the smaller cross street can not go straight through...it would have to make a right hand turn, make a U-turn, then another right hand turn.

What I find ironic is that this does not eliminate the left turn, it moves it away from the intersection. It forces making a left hand turn for those on the cross street wishing to go straight across the intersection.

It may indeed makes sense at some intersection to have such a configuration (I can think of a few in my neck of the woods), but I am certain that there are other constraints which would make it undesirable, too. For instance, what happens when the large business down the side street lets out and several hundred cars are attempting to make a right then a U-turn while the traffic they are trying to U-turn into is heavy and steady and fast (i.e. not letting anyone in)? The cars will back up out of the U-turn lane onto the main road and down the side street, blocking traffic on the main road in the opposite direction. Not that similar types of grid lock doesn't already happen on current road designs (round-abouts or traffic regulated cross streets).

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#6

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/14/2011 6:48 PM

I've heard that going left never leads to anything good.

Seriously, when I'm turning left at a light and crossing oncoming traffic, I get out in the intersection, I'll turn if it's clear, otherwise I wait until the light turns red and oncoming traffic is stopped to make my turn. I've seen too many people racing through yellow lights to do it any other way.

It's legal, and it works every time. Now if we could just equip all drivers with a brain, we'd be in good shape.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 1:07 AM

I nearly got killed a year and a half ago. A wide 2 lane road comes up to the lights, they are green and my driver whizzed through. 2 or 3 ft separated us from another guy going through the other way.

However, the particular road is a strange type of intersection. The big road is called glanford, it and another (tiny) road comes onto carey. which is the smaller road and goes through. Like an X where the left side of the x is tiny kent rd at top and Big glanford at the bottom. Carey is both roads on the right. Unless you were told, you would not know glanford is the minor road.

Green going onto carey is advance with caution. but no visitor would know.

See? Anyway, I had a furious argument on the phone with a lady from traffic control who was into right and wrong. "I got hit at another set of lights with a similar situation and the other driver had to pay" (because they were in the wrong).

She really said that! She did admit that there were a lot of accidents there and apparently it was a favorite spot for the cops to catch people for traffic infractions.

Anyway, in the last 6 or 8 months they changed the intersection.

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#14
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 8:14 AM

That does sound like a strange intersection. The vast majority of ours are 90 degree turns. Round abouts would never work here in the US except for a few limited areas. Rush hour traffic, even on secondary roads is very heavy. Traffic would quickly be backed up for miles in all directions. At least here where I live, and I would imagine it would be the same around most US cities.

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#15
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 9:15 AM

It is a strange one. Victoria is an old town, so probably old towns in eastern USA have similar problems. (Hopefully not similar traffic planners). I was in south Germany about 20 years ago when they introduced a roundabout at a problem junction onto a minor highway. Many locals had not used one before, I think. People were very skeptical at first but it eliminated the wait altogether. I think you need to check out the United Kingdom before you dismiss roundabouts. The roads are narrower, and the traffic is incredible. My real introduction to the power of roundabouts was going to work in Gloucester on a bus. The traffic does not stop entering the roundabout. The bus must have entered at about 20 or 30 miles per hour! I must have closed my eyes and prayed the first couple of times. I don't drive myself. I wonder who has more road rage, English or American drivers? I think Americans. You cannot jump out at a roundabout to swing a baseball bat at another driver. You would be run over. But it happens at traffic lights. (I think)

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#17
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 9:52 AM

Yeah, I can't dismiss roundabouts outright, since I have no experience with them first hand besides at a few large shopping centers here.

I think I can dismiss them here in the US though...........at least as a retrofit, due to the way everything has been designed here from the start.

Every medium to large city in the US, even small ones, have been laid out with the city in the center and major roads moving out like spokes on a wheel. Along those spokes, about every 1/2 mile, or less, is a major intersection, kind of like the pattern of a spider web.

The cost alone would be astronomical. Plus, I don't think they would ever be able to even figure out where to start. The cars and traffic are already here, road rage would be vast understatement if they ever attempted to start tearing up roads and converting to roundabouts.

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#18
In reply to #14

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 11:07 AM

If RAs work in the UK where rush hour traffic is some of the worst in the world, why could the US not benefit?

Please be more exact and detail why you think that US traffic would not benefit.....perhaps some links covering such studies that have been made already?

Germany, after many years of few RAs has changed its mind over the last 10 years and you see more and more of them.....

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#53
In reply to #18

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 1:06 AM

After traveling through England, I found Round Abouts to be a fantastic way of managing traffic. You only had to wait more than a moment if there was a steady stream of traffic; but not a frequent problem.

Retrofitting across America would be an expensive invasive procedure, but fixing a few problem locations and installing new ones as the infrastructure grows would be a very smart idea...unfortunately I don't see much tendency to embrace world innovations in America.

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 1:16 AM

Roundabouts have become a way to slow vehicle traffic in some areas. My neighborhood is getting a slew of them. They are referred to as traffic calming devices.

This is not what they use in New Jersey. There they use divided highways, combined with overpasses. To turn left, one just turns right at the intersection, makes a U turn, and then goes over, or under the road that one was traveling on in the first place. Simple right? Yes. Simple left, not exactly.

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#16
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 9:29 AM

AMEN!

oilcan13

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#19
In reply to #16

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 11:28 AM

Everywhere where you have an alround stop sign (all over the US where I have driven!) a roundabout would benefit the situation.

You should start yourselves off at smaller less important junctions, till you have learnt how to negotiate them properly, before building the larger ones.......the ones that I believe in the UK are called the buried tortoise or similar. Which really only set the priorities and cost almost nothing....

You would be surprised at a) how good they work and b) how easy they are to use for all road users....

Here:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:UK_Roundabout_8_Cars.gif

is an animated UK roundabout, showing also the correct signalling with the direction signals.

Of course for many countries they are "going the wrong way round", if that bothers you, place a mirror at 45° or so to your screen and watch it in the mirror!!

That is how to get the traffic moving.

For really large amounts of traffic on really wide roads, the "Magic" Roundabout is a good way to go......see here:-

These work wonders!!

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 12:09 PM

Here is the google map of Raleigh NC, the closest city to me. Part of the problem, is that everything shaded in gray is occupied by buildings. You have to zoom in on Raleigh to see what I mean.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&source=hp&q=raleigh+nc&aql=&oq=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl

Hate to admit it, but if Americans had the will to learn new things, even if they make sense, we would have been on the metric system years ago.

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#46
In reply to #6

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 7:01 PM

I can't tell how many times I have been behind a car waiting to take a left at an intersection and they don't get in the intersection. The light turns red and they don't get through. What makes people think that they can't pull into the intersection and prepare to make a left-hand turn when the light is green?

Now if we could just equip all drivers with a brain, we'd be in good shape.

That'll never happen!

Liked your signature statement! (And no, I'm not going to stop drinking.)

Me either! You started that sentence with a conjunction though.

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#67
In reply to #46

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 7:57 AM

Yeah I see that all the time at lights too. I do wonder what happens at the intersections with the stop light cameras though. Do you get a ticket if the light turns red before you get through. Not that it matters to me, I'd go fight it. I'd rather get a ticket than get smacked by someone running a long yellow.

I had a pretty good beer buzz going yesterday, I don't know why I decided to announce it to the world.

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#7

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/14/2011 11:31 PM

The ultimate solution would be to to first do a traffic count and then decide on the best solution for that crossing.

On a large quantity of left turns one would actually double load an intersection by forcing 3 right turns.

A better solution for that crossing would be to insert a left turn phase and allow the opposing directions to pass simultaneously without crossing. (The opposing traffic must pass on your right).

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#9

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 3:40 AM

But I wouldn't be able to get home.
And this if from a nation that allows you to overtake on eitherside?
Most road planning in my town could be improved very easilly, if only the planners were forced to drive across town to and from work.
Pencil in the usual...you've heard it all before.
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#10
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 4:29 AM

I agree, I'd be able to get out just fine, but getting back would be an absolute... Well I'll stop there. I normally take 5 left turns, which is just under 2 miles, turning right would take me for a 30 mile detour... Not what you want when all you want is some lunch

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#11

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 4:59 AM

You could always do one of these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stack_interchange

The Flying Spaghetti Monster would be proud (the great highway designer in the sky).

In logging road world, that jughandle scheme is known as a "frog." It enables a longer turning radius at otherwise sharp "T" intersections.

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#12

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 5:32 AM

What happens if something like this also migrates to the motor racing industry; in my very limited knowledge of nascar for example, I've only ever seen them going anti-clockwise, or turning left?

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#13

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 7:13 AM

Within town limits, roundabouts are the way to go (already noted by lynlynch and PWSlack)

1) Slows traffic down

2) Turns all vehicles in a similar direction, collisions are then if they happen, at a much lower speed relative to each other

3) Sets priorities.

4) Can move traffic in both directions (Magic Roundabout) without causing head on collisions.

5) Does not NEED electrics and electronics to work correctly even with a power failure (Some UK ones where at rush hour the road is simply not wide enough for the traffic volume are then traffic light "Guided" at such times)

6) Do not add to the carbon footprint and in fact can be made to look VERY attractive!!!

7) Initial cost is similar (surprised me too!), but maintenance is far cheaper on RAs.

A Study in Germany about 20 years ago found many more plus points than I remember.....

The UK has some RAs that are huge, sometimes a mile round, probably I should call it a "one way system", but they really do help traffic movement.....most of these are long, rather than round by the way.......These are often seen out of the towns.......

There is nothing worse than sitting at a light at Red with no other traffic using the Green lights.......with a RA, this is fixed and reduces emmisions while sitting still.....

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#20
In reply to #13

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 11:44 AM

We have a few RAs here, and I don't care for them. I try to avoid them when I can. They keep putting in dividers on roads to limit where you can turn in or come out. Most of these are an annoyance. I can't imagine a huge RA like you mentioned to be a good thing. The left turns that I hate are the ones where you have another person turning left in front of you who is blocking your view. You have to wait for him to turn so you can see, or wait for a left turn signal.

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#22
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 12:10 PM

Roundabouts take significant real estate.

Not likely to become common, in the US.

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#23
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 12:40 PM

I could see a significant transfer of wealth taking place if they tried it............................From the cities, towns and land/building owners, to the lawyers.

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#43
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 4:19 PM

Are you sure? Stop lights create what I would call "temporary parking lanes" in the early morning and going home. When I first came to Canada, it was daunting crossing the road because the roads are so damn wide. The traffic in Victoria is not that much really, it is a lot less than the apparent traffic. Cars spend a long time sitting at the lights backing up and waiting to go.

We have an ideal one for a roundabout that has caused the "Colwood crawl" for years. It is caused by lights at the busy admirals road intersection. An alternative is a "ground traffic control station" where someone in an office switches the lights as needed.

But the roundabout option is automatic. From what I have seen of roundabouts here, the engineers need to do a design "crash course" in a country who already have them.

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#44
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 5:17 PM

What really is needed more often in regards to standard traffic intersections featuring traffic control lights is the incorporation of buried sensor wires in the pavement at each staging area/lane, that controls the signal lights and not the ancient signal timer technology.

Still hate driving in Roundabouts and I think they SUX, regardless of what it's proponents state to contrary herein. From Highway Engineering perspective the Superstreet concept is much safer and efficient then all other types of grade level intersections. I repeat, GRADE LEVEL INTERSECTIONS. In the USA, must I remind all present here that only multi-level interchanges, when design properly to AASHTO and FHWA GEOMETRIC STANDARDS, are safer that all other type of intersections. But, then again, constructing bridges and expansive ramped interchanges like those incorporated on the US nterstates and state Highways (and on other highways) are almost prohibitively expensive. That, and they are a maintenance nightmare! Look at all of the structurally deficient, insufficient, and unsafe bridges there are across the nation.

And let us not forget that grade level intersections are inherently dangerous, even with traffic signal controls to restrict the lefthand tunning movements......there will always be idiots that think they can beat the traffic signal turning red, and end up plowing into to some poor schmuck either turning left or proceeding straight across the controlled or non-signalled grade level intersection. If you look at the yearly body count here in the USA you will see that a majority of accidents, and hence fatalities are the result of said accident in those types of intersections. The FWHA numbers don't lie, and it is a fact that the Superstreet intersection concept reduced accidents occurring by a whopping 46% over other grade level intersection designs!

I'm sold on the Superstreet concept. You all had better get used to it using them, as the FHWA, AASHTO, and many states are poised to implement its usage nationwide in the next decade.

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#60
In reply to #43

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 4:19 AM

Due to the same sort of "crossing the road" problems, in the UK, particularly because of heavy traffic at rush hour time, many busy roads have pedestrian bridges because of the problems with stopping/slowing heavy traffic and the possible danger to the pedestrians, exactly as you mentioned.

Of course that is not as good for wheelchairs, so many have long ramps as well. Some even have lifts at each end if space is not available.

Another method used in the UK to allow people to cross the road, all Pedestrian traffic lights in the UK have a very short red phase, to stop the cars for the shortest possible time.

To make sure that the different speed of pedestrians is fully catered for at all times, the lights go from red to a flashing yellow for quite a long period, if no pedestrians are present, cars may drive on. If a pedestrian is still crossing, the cars must wait. To my mind it works really well. I am just amazed that it has not spread beyond the UK at all, as far as I am aware anyway.....

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#24

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 2:54 PM

Actually, the "Superstreet" intersection concept, as developed by Dr. Joe Hummer at NC State University, makes a great of sense and has demonstrated markable less traffic accidents and travel time, especially from a Traffic Engineering standpoint. Basically it is modified version of the "Michigan Left Turn", originally designed and implemented in the late 1960's and used throughout parts of Michigan. I have driven through many of them in that state, and in my professional opinion they are considerably safer and efficient than a standard grade level traffic intersection found throughout the country and Canada. You just have to get used to them, that's all. As a Civil Engineer that has designed many a traffic intersection over 30 years practice I actually prefer them.

I've even driven through several of the Superstreet intersections in Chapel Hill, NC, and find them to be a significant improvement over grade level intersections....hell of a lot safer and pretty much straight forward vs. even the Michigan Left Turn.

Forget "Turnabouts" as they are one of the absolute worse types of intersections conceivable. We have one nearby in Kingston NY near the New York State Thruway exit that is tremendously dangerous....lots and lots of accidents and close calls at hand in the interchange. Using it your are literally taking your own life in your hands.

Same can be said about one of the most dangerous Roundabouts in NYS, even in the NE USA, that being the infamous "Latham Circle", north of Albany at the intersections of NYS Routes 7 and 9, that was built back in the late 50's and early 60's. There are vehicular accidents there nearly every day, and have been many fatalities over the past 50 years. Even worse of a rainy or snowy day! I avoid using it at all cost whenever travelling in that town. Driving through it is pretty much akin to driving a Roundabout in downtown London, Paris or Rome. It's pretty much a free for all, the drivers are non-courteous and down-right reckless. you get the impression that you're competing in a "Demolition Derby", where it's every man (or woman) for themselves, like rats jumping a sinking ship! ACCCCKKKKKKKKK!!!!

Said can be said of the fairly new Roundabout constructed on NYS Rte. 67 in Malta NY near the State Farm Insurance Company complex, not far from the Route 67 and Adirondack Northway, aka I-87....I view this NYSDOT project as a travesty and total waste of Taxpayer dollars, as well as being highly dangerous. Scary. WTF were the NYSDOT design engineers thinking when they proposed this puppy? I shake my head in dismay, and wonder why why why?

Count me out or Roundabouts and give me a Superstreet any day!

For more info on the Superstreet intersection concept, please do a Wikipedia search on the subject.

Please have great safe weekend, and avoid those crazy drivers running a stop light in a standard traffic intersection!

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#55
In reply to #24

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 1:28 AM

You need to get out of your 'comfort zone' once and a while and see what else there is. Go to England and watch how a roundabout can process traffic, read a book written by someone who supports them...doe something besides bemoan them.

In another post you mention overpass bridges...is that really the best cost effective solution? NO. Level crossings can be safe, just train the driver. There will be a learning curve as people work their way into it, just like if we started teaching our children what a meter is.

Don't get so old you can't look outside the box you have folded closed around yourself.

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#64
In reply to #55

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 5:09 AM

You've earned a GA from me for this and your last post.

If a few more thought like you "out of the box", this discussion would never have been needed in the first place!!

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#71
In reply to #24

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 10:54 AM

Capt,

I don't know how much you have actually driven in the Detroit area where the "Michigan Left Turn"'s are used extensively, but I can tell you from experience (3 years living at 14 Mile and Mound Road) that when things go bad on Detroit's grid system, they REALLY go BAD.

I've seen where one simple accident that blocks two travel lanes in one direction can create gridlock for a 10-20 block radius. The gridlock could be directly attributed to the loss of left turn options at intersections; ie, an optional maneuver available at non-optimal traffic flow times that would relieve traffic flow around the incident area.

In these cases, which usually happened a couple of times a year, the extra option of a left turns at lights would have avoided the extensive grid locks that occured.

I often wonder if "traffic engineers" study the potentials of what happens when things go wrong or if they only study how to improve ideal situations?

Also, I was never a fan of being potentially caught at 3 red lights where, in most other cities, there would only be one. Travel savings time? Nah.

Hooker

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#73
In reply to #71

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 11:27 AM

Hey Hooker, how's things hanging?

Yes, I've driven through Detroit many a time (although not to your extent) and I think their highways systems SUX and have to be one of the worse in the nation, except maybe Boston and NYC/LI. With electric grid failure any signalled intersection is going to produce massive traffic jambs, so nothing designed so far is perfect and not prone to such an occurrence. But we all must remember that most likely the Detroit City Engineer's Office designed their streets, roads and highways within the City Limits, with possible exception of the US Interstate system highways which Michigan DOT would have designed accordingly. they may follow their own sets of highway design standards and guidelines and not necessarily strictly follow Michigan DOT and/or AASHTO/FHWA Standards. A lot of cities across the land are like that, unfortunately.

There is, however as huge difference between the "Michigan Left Turn" intersections and the "Superstreet" intersections first instituted in the Raleigh/Chapel Hill area by NCDOT, and more recently in Texas.

Since you're down in VA, maybe you should venture down to Raleigh and try out the new intersection for yourself next time you're down in that neck of the woods?

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#86
In reply to #73

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 3:47 PM

Hiya Capt, things ain't hanging too well with this cold!!But at least I'm not in New England anymore.

Actually, all in all, I thought the Detroit surface street grid system, designed specifically for autos, was done pretty well, especially with neighborhood streets having limited access to the main grid. When things went well, driving wasn't much of a problem, but when they went wrong, ohmygod. And that doesn't include the expressway system. That was always a zoo. Especially that raceway called I-696, sometimes known as the "Ditch".

Speaking of Boston, it's only good for one thing. Driver prep for Paris or Rome!!!! But Boston has an excuse. It's roads were built on cow paths.

Hooker

PS - I think the greater Detroit area had a regional transportation planning commission of some kind. It's been too long since I lived there.

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#25

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 6:14 PM

How about the roundabout that encircles the Arc de Triomphe, in the city of Paris in France, then?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paris.etoile.arp.750pix.jpg

Most roundabouts have a Give Way rule to traffic that is on the roundabout. On this particular one, traffic on the roundabout gives way to traffic that is entering it.

"Abandon hope all ye who enter here".....

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#28
In reply to #25

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 10:05 PM

Yeah, that has to be one of the worse in the world, except the ones in Rome Italy, where every driver in the blasted thing thinks he's either driving a Ferrari or Formula One racer! It's a freaking free-for-all!

Glad I took trains throughout Europe, and when in Paris, definitely took the "Metro" everywhere I could, and if not the trains I walked!

Word of advice while hoofing it through Paris: never ever try to walk across their Roundabouts because they never brake for pedestrians!!!! I swear that the French must earn BONUS POINTS for hitting pedestrians, especially when they're in a crosswalk! And you had thought that Boston drivers were the worse? HAAAA!

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#29
In reply to #25

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 10:30 PM

Looks like a circular parking lot. The pedestrian seems to be doing okay. Maybe if they took that big roadblock out of the middle....? Sacré bleu, did I say that?

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#26

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 6:24 PM

When you go around the whole thing six times in order to make enough lane changes, you develop a whole new appreciation for those things. Round and round everybody go; swing your partner, do-si-do.

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#27

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/15/2011 9:31 PM

You can just love all those safety jug handles in New Jersey, rotarys in Mass and when those town folk get out in the boonies they get killed making a left turn in front of a 20 mph farm tractor. Never occurred to look both ways. Consult the reality of rural sheriff reports! Better, let everybody eat out of the cook pan, no dishes to wash! Better yet, take a look at the suburban New Jersey car tire. Can't swap right to left as with old tires, just front to back...... hey, brand-new looking tires get thrown away, they are bald and terribly unsafe for 70 mph because the edges are down to wire cord from too many same direction turns. Left turns are somewhat Darwinesque. When I would rent a car in Boston and drive through Mass, the rotarys were and still are clockwise dare and do. Driving is a PRIVILEGE. It requires excellent teachers and thoughtful students. Tons of practice. Thus tough licensing, VERY tough. Mechanical solutions for insipid people merely deadens self responsibility, increases civil engineering project costs and treats non tort-reformed lawyers to numbed skulls when the numbed skull is in a typical rural driving situation. The problem is lack of attention, people who cannot control their own personal reaction times, poor sight to effect relationships and most probably soft or hard narcotically impaired drivers. Good engineering, really good engineering, encourages courtesy and is supported by tough licensing. Try getting a full drivers license in over populated Japan (yep, the folks that make all those cars).

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#30

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 5:48 AM

Gentlemen of the USA,

its apparent to me that you have for one reason or another, a problem with driving in say a modern, European situation. Accepted, though bI cannot understand why....

Many of you are positively scared of roundabouts - "what we don't know, we don't like or trust.....etc etc."

Sad really.

I was always amazed in many parts of the US when I visited, just how many tiny Blue rinse widows there are in the USA, driving "Humping great big cars", at 20mph in the middle of the road, continually signalling left and eventually turning right - or similar. ( Grey haired men with hats on for example!)

So maybe you are right, we should not try and "Force" these modern new fangled things on such a public. Simply stay as you are as the 21st Century rolls on.....

I must also say that Mog (?) said it right, so maybe "youall" get your licenses far too easy........the average driver there is simply lacking in car skill driving quality.....that must agravate the mqany good drivers (I also know that to be true) amongst you something terrible......

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#33
In reply to #30

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 12:58 PM

Its mind control. The lights tell us what to do!

Eventually, some prisons will just have traffic lights to keep the inmates in.

Europeans believe in individual freedoms, liberty, etc, so they are casting off the tyranny of the lights.

I bet those devilish Europeans still have stick shifts to change gears!

And some of them can speak more than one language!

How DO they do it? AND drive at the same time!

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#37
In reply to #33

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 3:06 PM

LOL!!

Very well put!!!

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#34
In reply to #30

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 1:26 PM

You say, "Gentlemen of the USA, its apparent to me that you have for one reason or another, a problem with driving in say a modern, European situation."

Please do not generalize. I, and many that I know, have driven in a modern European environment. I have been to and driven in England (London as well as the countryside), Brussels, and France (Paris as well as across France). In addition to European countries, I have driven in Korea and in Saudi Arabia (where it seems the round about right away are opposite to most other places....apparently the biggest vehicle or the guy with the biggest balls has the right away in Saudi).

There are many in the US that may fit your generalization and there are many who do not. Change is difficult for many to accept and/or adapt to especially for those who are older. I suspect it's easier for someone brought up in an area where round-abouts are the norm to navigate them than someone who was raised and learned with a road system which hasn't any (or very few). The first I was exposed to was on a trip to England in my early thirties. It was quite interesting trying to get the hang of the round-abouts as well as driving on the wrong side of the road.

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 2:21 PM

and I'm glad he left the ladies out of it. Harrumph.

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#38
In reply to #35

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 3:14 PM

Sue,

I left out the ladies as women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia and the parenthesis were following my statement about driving in Saudi.

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#47
In reply to #38

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 7:53 PM

Hi JB,

I was referring to post #30, which you had cited in your own post.

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#49
In reply to #47

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 8:53 PM

ahh okay. I didn't catch that upon reading your comment. I see now.

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#40
In reply to #35

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 3:28 PM

After hearing many times from US Ladies that they can only drive "automatic" I thought I would leave that alone........it was a can of worms that I felt as a Gentleman, difficult to broach!

Not be able to stick shift implied to me that RAs would also be a problem and sitting in the RH seat and driving on the correct, lefthand side, might bring on a screaming attack!!

By the way, automatic still makes cars significantly more expensive in Europe, which is one of the reasons it is not liked as much!! Plus it generally increases the fuel consumption over the same car with a stick shift, even today with the best automatic that you can get!!

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#48
In reply to #40

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 7:56 PM

I learned to drive in a manual transmission car and still prefer one (but unfortunately don't have one anymore). Automatic transmission vehicles are more expensive in the U.S., too, but out-sell stick shifts.

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#50
In reply to #48

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 8:55 PM

I much prefer a stick, too, but opted for an automatic with my past purchase as automatics do offer a bit more convenience.

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#62
In reply to #48

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 4:57 AM

Good for you, RESPECT!

But you are only one in a million! A very seldom specie!!

Just an aside really, but surely that means that if you buy secondhand cars, the manuals are far, far cheaper in the US?

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#68
In reply to #62

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 10:01 AM

Most Americans I talk to feel that a manual gearbox is more expensive because they have to change the clutch...they also think that a MOT is ridiculous. Perhaps that is why they think vehicle maintenance is expensive, it does often cost more if you don't fix something when it first starts to go out.

I am very happy with my manual pickup truck here. I wonder if there is a connection between a manual gearbox and crash rates because I think if you are shifting gears, you are more actively driving and aware of your surroundings.

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#69
In reply to #68

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 10:07 AM

I dunno, I had my manual transmission for 16.5 years and never had to fix or swap out anything. Sold the car for $1 (yar, one dollar) when I was done with it in 1995, and for all I know it could still be on the road.

And never had an accident with it. Never even ran over a squirrel.

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#39
In reply to #34

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 3:21 PM

You wrote:-

"get the hang of the round-abouts as well as driving on the wrong side of the road."

Which of course SHOULD have read:-

"get the hang of the round-abouts as well as driving on the right side of the road."

If you don't know why, ask me....

I was actually answering the general tone of the comments from the US citizens here, they are mostly against RAs.

Where would your vote lie, waiting at a stop sign with "all round stop", waiting at a Red light, or "slipping" into a stream of rotating traffic around an island? Not ever having to wait provided the way is free......you must Stop at a stop sign/Red light, even if no traffic is around, how cute, but of course, who obeys the law? A few I expect. It generally just wastes fuel especially when traffic is sparse.........

You appear to be someone flexible enough to achieve the ability to drive around Europe without problems.......but don't expect a compliment from me as it should be easy for anyone with moderate driving skills or better....Maybe the driving test quality in the USA is to blame. The test here requires a very full knowledge for both the theory one and the practical!!!

Just for the record, I worked for several large US computer companies between 1973 and 2006, they all suffered from the "NIH" syndrome, all of them!!! This appears to be again a "NIH" problem with regard to RAs........

I am sure that you and the rest of the US posters are all clever enough to know what "NIH" stands for, after all it was invented in the USA as far as I can tell!!!

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#41
In reply to #39

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 3:59 PM

I am in favor of the best use of resources for a traffic intersection (money available, land, technology, etc.). I am very much in favor of round-abouts, where they make sense. I would say that in general they probably make sense much more than they are used in the US.

I find it ironic that in a country with a lot of land (USA) we use a more land efficient intersection whereas in a land limited country (UK) they use the round about which typically requires more land for the same intersecting streets.

I was searching for no compliments regarding to my driving abroad...I was giving my experience to indicated qualification to make my statements.

In my opinion driving requirements in the US are below where I think they should be.

By the way, the NIH is not unique to US corporations or individuals. I have seen that in countries around the world. The company I work for was purchased by a Canadian company many years ago. At that time, both had R&D projects into a certain technology. The company I worked for was years ahead of the Canadian company. Our prototype was already working and very close to production...theirs was no where near it. Since they bought us and were much larger, instead of looking at our technology and assessing the two competing projects to see which would be more beneficial for the company, our project was glanced at and shelved. The next few years followed with several other similar events.

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#59
In reply to #41

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 3:55 AM

.....and that is why the US doesn't like Roundabouts!!

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#45
In reply to #39

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 6:23 PM

You mostly have it correct.

in some countries we drive on the right, others on the left, neither is correct, beyond following the local custom

RA's work ok, the learning curve for new installations surprisingly short

drivers adapt, just don't ask them

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#61
In reply to #45

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 4:47 AM

Actually, time wise and country wise, more people have driven on the left than the right, its the logically correct side for all countries where most people are right handed.....

The first paragraph in the Wiki article about on which side to drive on has this sentence:-

"Though originally most traffic drove on the left worldwide,"

Which is true.....

Look here for the complete article:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_on_the_left#Changing_sides_at_borders

Further down in the article you will find that:-

a) several (small) countries have very recently changed to Left hand driving. Since 1978, even one in 2009!!

b) Research in 1969 by J. J. Leeming showed countries driving on the left have a lower collision rate than countries driving on the right.[29] It has been suggested this is partly because humans are more commonly right-eye dominant than left-eye dominant.[30][31][32] In left-hand traffic, the predominantly better-performing right eye is used to monitor oncoming traffic and the driver's wing mirror. In right-hand traffic, oncoming traffic and the driver's wing mirror are handled by the predominantly weaker left eye.

Maybe thats the reason for so many accidents when turning left in the USA and other countries........

The whole Wiki article is interesting reading, I do believe that its mostly true as well......read it and see what you think!!

By the way, Wiki or not, I still believe Napoleon was the basic problem!! Hey, I gotta blame someone!!

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#70
In reply to #61

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 10:37 AM

Be that as it may, were this question be from a left driver it would be rewritten:

Should Right Turns Be Illegal?

signed Son of Editor Crankshaft

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#75
In reply to #70

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 11:29 AM

As you can well imagine, there are a lot of right turns in LH countries, but as I already showed before, maybe you missed it.ö It appears to be due to most people having a "master" right eye, the right turns there do not produce the same number of accidents.....the better eye is in use.....

A Professor Leeming was the one that found that out if memory serves me correctly. I can post the link again if required....

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#78
In reply to #75

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 12:52 PM

Maybe Europeans would have less accidents if they used both eyes and stop winking all the time.

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#79
In reply to #78

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 1:06 PM

What did you think of what Leeming thought about the left turn accident rates (all over the world except for LH driving countries.)

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#81
In reply to #61

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 1:33 PM

"It has been suggested this is partly because humans are more commonly right-eye dominant than left-eye dominant.[30][31][32] In left-hand traffic, the predominantly better-performing right eye is used to monitor oncoming traffic and the driver's wing mirror. In right-hand traffic, oncoming traffic and the driver's wing mirror are handled by the predominantly weaker left eye."

Actually I think it's "Weak-mindedness", "sloppiness", "laziness", sometimes "aggressiveness", "don't give a hootness" (not sure if that's a word or not...probably not and I just made a new word up! LOL), "cluelessness", "idiocy", and finally, a lot of plain just not turning one's flaming head both ways to observe oncoming traffic....

And don't get me started yet again on the illegal and idiotic use of cell phones, texting and Tweeting while operating a motor vehicle! ACCKKKK!!!!!!

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#56
In reply to #30

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 1:28 AM

It seems that the drivers that you saw are the "snowbirds" we bring them to Florida to slow down the locals that drive too fast. They are known to wear the smallest ,tightest bathing suits imaginable (commonly known as Speedos). They also tend to gather at the "Early bird specials" served at the restaurants here. They have been known to use a secret password to communicate with each other. Aye? There seems to be some religious rule against tipping that they practice.

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#95
In reply to #56

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/18/2011 7:54 AM
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#77
In reply to #30

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 12:49 PM

The roundabouts I was referring to were put where no traffic light was needed. Also, they were put on 4-lane roads, but the RA had only 1 lane! Since then they have made them 2-lane RAs, so they are not as bad. Still, all they do is make you go farther, and wear out your tires from turning. They have put a lot of them in subdivisions where there is little traffic, I think just to slow people down.

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#82
In reply to #77

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 1:49 PM

Is it better to slow people a bit or stop them completely then let them start again? Just about every driver approaching a stop is looking to slow to an almost stop and roll through anyway, so why not let them do it? As traffic flow increases on any junction, there is usually a need to increase controls at that junction. Who do you think is a safer driver, the automaton bored with sitting at unending lights who is only looking for a green light (not cross traffic) so he can jump on the gas pedal when it goes green, or the driver approaching a roundabout who only has to look for traffic straight ahead or to one side? (Answer that question master of credentials Moose)

I have seen several arguments about tire wear, I worked on my own vehicles in England and still do here in America, the only vehicle I saw excessive wear that I could contribute to roundabouts was the motorcycle, but that might be because of playing on nice clear roundabouts over and over to get better at cornering.

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#31

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 6:04 AM

Can we still turn left on one-way streets?

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 7:31 AM

I seriously doubt it!!!! What about the poor pedestrians?

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#36

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 2:29 PM

Ever try driving in China. Don't. The pedestrians cross diagonally , willy nilly regardless of whether any traffic lights allow them. I have seen drivers in a 4 lane one way road, stop at an intersection , in the far right lane and turn left across 3 other lanes. In any other country, If you wanted to turn left, you would gradually work your way into the left most lane, but NOT in China. I have seen bus drivers pass transport trucks, on a curve , going uphill.

I have seen mule and donkey driven carts (farmers going to sell their product in the city) on modern 8 lane superhighways in Beijing, competing with buses, tanker trucks and way too many cars.There is a major highway between Beijing and Tibet (China invaded and annexed Tibet in 1950's) that had a traffic jam (Sept 2010) that lasted 10 DAYS long and stretched 120 kilometers. The dirt poor farmers along the route had a captive audience of needy drivers to sell whatever they could at inflated prices.

The scary thing is in order to get a drivers license in China, you only have to pass a written test and perform some limited maneuvers in a closed circuit test facility. They never have to do a road test in real traffic. I never saw a driving school while in China.

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#42

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 4:08 PM

At one time left turns were not allowed in Mexico City.

I don't know if it is still that way.

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#51

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/16/2011 9:11 PM

If you want to operate a DVD player, a GPS, an internet connection, and a cell phone while driving, a stick is just a bit too much....

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#63
In reply to #51

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 5:06 AM

....for some brains?

Joking aside, DVDs are only for the back seats in Europe, the computer/mobile with an internet connect may not be "touched" nor "read" while moving (costs both money and points on your license), only talking is allowed with a Mobile, mine has voice dialling and a Blue tooth connection to my radio....thats allowed.

I am left plenty of time to watch the road and change gears at the same time, though while phoning, I tend to slow down on the Autobahn and join the slower moving right lane - unless I am in a race against a Porsche and big Merc of course!! I don't want to lose!!!

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#57

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 2:00 AM

One of the arguments for no left turns in the original article was the fuel savings. I may have missed, but don't recall seeing many comments addressing this.

My comment on the fuel savings is that you might save fuel, but if you loose time will the fuel savings pay the cost of the man-hours spent driving all around?

I have driven in 4 countries with roundabouts, and find them an excellent solution to traffic. I absolutely hate stopping for a red light when nobody else is there, and I laugh when I finally get a green light just in time to stop some poor idiot from the side.

Even smart lights that use sensors to detect traffic approaching lights do not always 'see' motorcycles who are then stuck until a car comes up behind.

Anyone who talks bad about roundabouts but has not experienced them in a country where people are trained to drive well should not speak of things they do not know enough about. I admit many 'traffic circles' in America are not good examples because of poor training of drivers or worse conflicting traffic signs.

This one above (featured in a crash video where the idiot fails to go around it) is a good example of a good idea gone wrong, not because of the crash but because the arrows painted on the pavement (off screen) approaching from the left indicates you can go around or exit from either lane, a sign posted on the side of the road correctly indicates that you must exit at the first turning if you are in the outside lane. It is almost as if it was intended to be a double in, double out roundabout, but the signs conflicting just make it worse.

The result of this particular roundabout in America is that many locals don't like it and don't want any more, but I feel this is due to poor management by the council instead of the people genuinely not liking it. I imagine this is common across America.

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#58
In reply to #57

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 3:17 AM

Latest improvement is the spiral roundabout, where exit lane is more or less chosen before entering the junction - we even have them with traffic lights for rush-hour use, not that accidents are completely prevented.

Looks better than this!

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#65
In reply to #57

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 5:12 AM

You should see my posts with details of what it costs in the USA for an accident where someone dies......a RA is quickly paid off under those terms....

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#66

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 6:58 AM

60 odd posts on and I'm still trying to figure out what solutions the OP brings to any of the cited problems.

Say farmer Fred lives over behind those houses and wants to deliver a load of turnips to the supermarket in his beat up F150. Fred turns right and "accelerates" flat out to merge with high speed through traffic (read waddles out in front of them), then cuts across to left lane, breaking early, then swings (left) on through 2 lanes of oncoming (no different to a left turn impact potential), then "accelerates", merges and brakes, to turn right.

How is this "safer" - Fred had, or caused, 6 (min) 'high speed collision windows', verses 4 (max) just driving on through blind.

How is this "saving energy"? Fred was either 'flat out' or "standing on the brakes" (as no doubt were the through traffic, trying to decide which side to pass on)

Now if the idea was to keep the through traffic 'at speed': Fred has totally wrecked that in both directions for hundreds of yards, probably miles, but nothing compared to when his brother delivers the toilet paper in the "big rig" - as it's the new big seller to through traffic.

But, moving on, and presuming "keep the through traffic 'at speed'" is the anti-roundabout reasoning.

"At speed" is of course "usually fatal". I.e. you may have panel beating at roundabouts, but seldom fatalities, even on 'fast ones', as everyone is going in roughly the same direction.

But putting physics and logic aside; say it's an 'interstate' and prevailing values are roundabouts would be annoying, or rude surprises, so another solution is sought.

In a number of countries, they locally increase the separation of the roads, so cross traffic, even "big rigs", can sit in the middle. It means drivers only have to plan one 'dodge through' at a time, and generally get through in self organised bunches. Bunches are more visible to oncoming, than individual vehicles.

It would take about equal land, or less, once you factor in truck turning, to this "race, hack, t-bone, shunt, at high speed" idea.

All in all, it's just a chopped up roundabout that's lost all the advantages and increased the perils of a straight crossing. Imagine doing that U turn with auntie in her Sunday hat in the passenger seat. And If you made it, why the re-merge/un-merge?

I'm confused enough to think the OP is a non-driver who's never seen a truck, or driven with Granny.

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#72

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 11:10 AM

All I have to say further on this matter is:

"Don't knock it until you've tried it...."

or

"Try it, you'll like it!"

Frankly, it's much more simpler to navigate a Superstreet Intersection then you guys make it out to be with all your crazy crash and time/distance scenarios, and they are far far safer then any other grade level intersection, including "roundabouts" and other forms of traffic circles. The shear reduction in accidents and fatalities is borne out in the NTSB and NHWA records, so do I need to transgress any more on the subject? I think not, and to do so I would be talking to myself along with repentances. And I know a whole lot of you folks have never ever have designed a single traffic intersection in your entire lives, nor are many of you that are Civil Engineers specializing in Transportation Engineering (ie, Highway design), so I don't know where you're getting off criticizing something you actually have no business complaining about. I have design many intersections is my career, literally in the hundreds, so I can speak with some authority regarding this subject. I'm not trying to to rub your noses in it, or trying to have an "Superior Air" about me, but honestly guys, IF you truly do not have any highway design experience then how can you just sit there and type away on your keyboards dispersing ill-afforded engineering advice like you do? Or even justify it???? Just because you can drive a vehicle doesn't make you an expert in the field. I don't criticize you EE's and ME's, etc etc etc in regard to your knowledge and advice in respective threads, so please listen to what I have to say regarding this subject, okay?

And yes, the driver's licensing procedure here in the USA are somewhat lax, and yes, we do have a lot of crappy drivers as a result of it. BUT that won't change anytime soon dear fellows because there's no National standards for driver's proficiency nor is there any Federal Driver's License with tighter standards....there are, unfortunately, 50 independent States plus the US Territories conducting their own driver's permitting and driver's exams with their own set of guidelines, with some states better than others, and a whole bunch of them very sub-par. Then there's the issue of insurance and legal Tort reform to deal with, with all laws and statutes all driven by lawyers for lawyers. Do you really think the lawyers are going to cut their own throats and kill off the gravy train that feeds their pockets so as to reform the drivers licensing statutes in this fair land? Don't you bet your live (or your Bippy) on it anytime soon! So it's left up to us Civil Engineers across the land to come up with safer solutions in highway design to save all your sorry asses from the free-for-all Demolition Derby participants on our roads and highways. Hell bells, no body else is up to the challenge and coming up with better solutions then what the OP has presented to all of us herein.

And I might add this that I too have driven throughout Europe several times, including the UK and Germany, and European drivers have NO LOCK on good driving skills and courtesy as compared to US and Canadian drivers, or anyone else for that matter. I have witnessed on many occassions some absolutely atrocious driving, some of which is the worse I've ever seen worldwide (and I'm well-travelled too), on the part of Euro drivers that really rank high up there, where the offending drivers ought to have their respective licenses revoked permanently.

That's all I have to say further about this. End point.

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#74
In reply to #72

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 11:28 AM

"they are far far safer then any other grade level intersection, including "roundabouts" and other forms of traffic circles. The shear reduction in accidents and fatalities is borne out in the NTSB and NHWA records"

I'd be convinced if the "records" had a base in scientific comparison.

E.g 'black spot' of similar statistics were fitted with each system.

I.e. a reduction from catastrophic to only disastrous, is a fabulous improvement statistic.

Not knocking 'an improvement' - but is it the best improvement? You can't possibly assert that without proper comparison.

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#80
In reply to #74

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 1:19 PM

IF you were truly in the "know", you would not be begging the question if the records do have a base in scientific comparison.

The answer is of course they do. All you have to do is visit the FHWA, AASHTO and individual state transportation agency websites and rifle through their various data bases, including their yearly reports, which BTW are submitted to the Federal Government and Congress each and every year. All of it is read into the Congreesional Record and keep on file at the Library of Congress. There are also Transportation Official committee reports available too. Truthfully, I find most of these reports entirely BORING and real snoozers! LOL

Expect to spend a great amount of time doing your own research on any of the websites, as there is a tremendous amount of information available. I could provide the URL links, but I am too far busy working on real life engineering solutions today. Additionally, even though I am Civil Engineer who is well versed in transportation engineering I am even overwhelmed by navigating through some of the websites and finding exactly what I require. Believe me when I state that there's way too much information that's available to digest in any given month! Just imagine the un-daunting task facing the unawares layman who is researching any aspect of transportation engineering, particularly highway engineering.......and lets not even go into the subject of regulated civilian aviation Transportation Engineering in the USA, as that's another can of worms all onto itself. Then there's the Military aviation requirements, which are equally worse.

As they say, do a Google Search in order to find the answers to your questions.

Frankly, from an Engineering viewpoint and based on years of professional experience, I'm not purporting that the Superstreet Intersection Concept and implementation is the "Best Improvement" in this country, or for that matter anywhere else in the remaining world. I'm sure that there may be better ones, but I haven't seen other better proposals to date. They probably do exist, but yet again, who really knows? For me to even suggest that this Superstreet concept is "Best" would literally hinge on non-professionalism and smack of irresponsibility. By doing so I might as well hang-up and hand-in my hard earned PE license, retire early , and then head to the sunny beach of my dreams. Hello Bora Bora, here I come! Beach Bunnies look out, it's Margarita time for sure!!!!

Anywho, the real question is not IF it is a "Best Improvement", but rather is it a "Better Improvement"? My answer to that question is that it is certainly a "Better Improvement" over some of the older more classic (antiquated?) intersection designs, but not necessarily Better for use in all intersections cases. The Golden Rule is, "one size cannot fit all" and each and every interchange and intersection has to be evaluated on a case-to-case basis for acceptability of the final proposed design or it's alternatives. Each and every case is different, has its own limits and a myriad of factors to consider. Basically, no two are the same. And since there are many many factors to be considered in studying and designing any given highway and each interchange or intersection.....it cannot be GENERALIZED, as evidenced in the various postings in this thread by many a CR4 Forum member. Sorry to have to say that, but "theys the facts Jack". Hence, IF it was so easy to design intersections, they wouldn't devote entire Semester long Traffic Engineering courses in the Engineering Schools (and there are a handful of requisite course required) nor would it take years of on-hand actual design experience after graduation from college. To even navigate successfully through the myriad of American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), FHWA, and individual state Guidelines and standards takes years of actual practice, let alone putting that gained knowledge and principals into actual practice.

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#83
In reply to #80

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 1:57 PM

You seem very stuck in the mud with your position. One one hand you say "one size cannot fit all" but you seem very concrete in your position that your way is best. As I said before climb out of this box you have built around your position and get your feet out of the mud before it hardens into a concrete you cannot ever break free from.

Remember, it is not the stone that guides the river forever but instead the river that carries the stone to the sea as silt and sand.

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#84
In reply to #83

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 2:51 PM

I have never stated that in this thread the Superstreet is "BEST", but rather in my opinion that it is essentially "BETTER" in many regards, ie an Improvement, over standard signaled grade level intersections. Don't put words in my mouth that I have agreed to or said. I'm saying that designing safer traffic intersections is imperative, and that it also has a lot to do with a whole host of circumstances/factors from one intersection to the next.

And no, I'm not a big fan of roundabouts whatsoever, as they are not the "end all" either. I'd rather avoid them, and I consider myself an above average driver too, having taken a whole bunch of defensive drivers course over the years (been driving for 36.5 yrs.) + racing driver courses at Lime Rock, CT & Watkins Glen, NY + raced on both courses in my late dad's 1984 Ferrari 308 GTSi Quattrovalvole (which has a top speed driven of 159 MPH) & have driven the German Autobahn several times quite quite fast in my favorite, the Porsche 911. Not to pound my chest and brag too loudly, but I can keep up with some of the best of them.

I think you need to seriously get off your infinitesimal soapbox (or is that a shoebox?) and reread my posts, as you are obviously overlooking a tremendous amount of information that I have served up in this thread.......

There is always room for improvement. I do think that everyone here can agree with that, wouldn't you say?

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#87
In reply to #84

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 7:03 PM

There is always room for improvement...but you seem to insist it is your way on the highway. Check yourself to see if you are really in the rut I see you in.

You seem to use information to force your opinion to the front without regard to other options. Perhaps your rut is become a foxhole you do not look out of. I have been driving just about as long as you, and have had many driver training courses including professional large vehicle and passenger training. I may not be a civil engineer, but at least I am willing to be open about diverse opinions, rather than being stuck with my own small view.

We can continue slinging the mud you seem stuck in, or have open discourse.

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#85
In reply to #83

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 2:57 PM

LOL!!!

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#88
In reply to #85

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 8:03 PM

Wouldn't it be sweet if there were roundabouts in motor racing? Or 2 way traffic? That way you could have 2 races going on at the same time on the same track. I never watch racing myself because it is so darn boring.

I have a relative in Ireland who used to treat driving as a race, If there was no apparent oncoming traffic, he would use both sides of the road to cut the corners) and he did this at autobahn speed.

So I kinda know the adrenaline rush that it gives.

It scared the crap out of me the one time I was in his car but it might make racing watchable if that was part of the scene.

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#90
In reply to #83

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 11:04 PM

Is that Concrete Placed or Poured? :D

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#100
In reply to #90

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/18/2011 10:08 AM

Ohhh dear dear Garth, do we have to do the "Roundabout" on the "concrete" issue yet again? You seem to not to want to let it go....

As I have stated many times before, according to the American Concrete Institute (ACI), the Portland Cement Institute (PCI), the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI), and the USACE and most concrete engineering textbooks and concrete manuals (that I possess here in PDF files, DVDs/CDs and plain old paper-based analog form, literally numbering in the tens of dozens), concrete is placed, not poured. It is not a liquid but rather in a "plastic" state. You can't shovel most liquids! LOL Depends on the viscosity ya know.

Besides that, the advisory committee members sitting on each of those organizations listed afore hand, along with too many textbook authors to count and the thousands of college and university educators who teach concrete engineering can't all be wrong, can they? I think not.

IF I had the time I'd provide you with the necessary URL's for verification purposes, but hey, I don't and can't at this time as I'm very busy w/ work and shouldn't even be in here.

As many CR4 members typically say, do a Google search on the subject. I dare say that you might actually learn something if you do, dear boy?

And I cite a quotation from a single source, as follows:

Source: the textbook "Reinforced Concrete Technology"; Samuel E. French, Ph.D, P.E.; Delmar Publishers, Inc.; Albany, New York, USA; copyright 1994 [ISBN 0-8273-5495-9]

Location of quote: In Chapter 1, pg. 1, 1st and 2nd paragraphs...

"To be a good structural material, a material should be homogeneous, isotropic, and elastic. Portland cement concrete is none of these. It is, nonetheless, a very popular construction material."

"Portland cement concrete is manufactured using a coarse aggregate of stone, a fine aggregate of sand, and a cementing paste of Portland cement and water. The end result is a man-made stone that can be shaped while in its plastic state and allowed to harden into its final configuration."........

I could supply more quotations from even more authoritative sources, but as I have stated above, I don't possess the required time allotment to run round Robbin with you in this discourse any further. But shall we dance?

Call it what you want, but in essence your engineering terminology is quite quite incorrect. I will stick with the experts in the field. If you chose not to I'm sure you'd surely be laughed out of any Civil Engineering consulting firm or for that matter, nearly any large professional run job site.

Have a great day!

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#103
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Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/18/2011 10:43 AM

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#126
In reply to #103

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/18/2011 6:30 PM

Interesting JD - did the similar thing but using the Captain's words (as cement is not the same as concrete ) and alternately "poured"

Slightly 'better' results

Of interest, in trying to find the actual reason, or an actual reference for "placing" other than the common English language usage, as in placing reinforcement, or placing a cup on a table; in the first page of results (many of which are from blogs) 1 (repeated) source, holds the possible clue as to why this is an "industry term".

According to Carpentry - Gaspar J. Lewis, Floyd Vogt

It seems that

They go on to say, basically dumping into form-work tends to over-stress the forms - which as carpenters - they build.

So having 'established in the minds of people filling form-work to be gentle"

they then say in vibrating

They also speak of 'placing stakes' - again, just 'common English usage'.

So in the total absence of any actual reference by the Captain, who has asserted this term belligerently, since some innocent uttered "pour" in HIC, it's ironically about "not hurling stuff".

And it has nothing to do with any 'justification' ever sighted by said 'advocate'.

It's don't dump tones of it from over 6 ft, use a chute, or it's messy and things might break.

And, as we all know, a concrete pump often effectively dumps from the knuckle height, but not tons at a time, and you get some, but not a lot of, splashing problems. And then there is "spraycrete".

So as things stand, short of an authoritative reference to the contrary - "placing" is about being kind to carpentry, during a pour.

Not a jot to do with the nature of concrete itself.

One of course would take it seriously if it was about cake making, where how you pour the mix can effect the success of the sponge cake rise. But equally, if that bit was missing in the justification, and pages of spurious reasons given, that too would be a joke.

This is of course "OT"

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#127
In reply to #126

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/18/2011 7:15 PM

Is pancake batter "poured" or "placed"?

--Aunt Jemima

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#134
In reply to #127

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/19/2011 4:40 AM

Doesn't it depend on how "thick" it is.....

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#158
In reply to #100

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/20/2011 12:12 AM

Can you clear this up for me?

When the concrete truck is finished "placing" his load, and it is time to rinse off the delivery shute, Is the driver placing the runoff onto the ground? And when the mixture is diluted sufficiently to leave no remains of the concrete on the delivery end of the truck, Is the driver then placing the water onto the ground?

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#89
In reply to #80

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 8:33 PM

"IF you were truly in the "know", you would not be begging the question if the records do have a base in scientific comparison. ....... The answer is of course they do"

When I'm not "in the know", which is usual with every new client/project - I ask questions. Usually of those that would appear to be knowledgeable and so gather those who actually are, onto the team.

Such I "know" (as in recognize), as they have the data at hand and so would be equipped to answer my novice level questions.

E.g. My expert might say; "This comparative study addresses your 'basis' question" OR "no - no such comparative study has been yet been done"

My expert might even go on to say; "however this super street and this roundabout, have somewhat similar traffic parameters and we may be able to reduce climate, location and demographic factors, to a common measurement basis".

Now of course, as I'm not "in the know" - I'm guessing as to what an expert might say. But I feel over the many years of employing this 'finding' technique, the response would would be about the question - not spinning it off to something not even inferred, then/and/or, obfuscate when data illustrating their conclusions is requested.

And that is the "big contrast"; that tells me, who can safely be bypassed, in the find who is "in the know" process.

So I'm thinking: Perhaps when you are wading through this sea of bureaucracy - such as my method might be helpful to you.

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#76
In reply to #72

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/17/2011 12:20 PM

I do not question your qualifications and I'm sure you know a lot more than I do since you have designed hundreds of traffic intersections and I have designed zero (other than in my head while sitting in traffic). But for us unqualifieds to take your ideas/opinions as gospel we would then have to rule out all of the other traffic designers who have collectively designed tens of thousands of traffic intersections which we are currently driving on.

I appreciate that you point to the data from NTSB and NHWA. But are there enough superstreet intersections in use now to statistically say they are superior to others?

All intersection designs have pros and cons and I suspect they change with the situation/location. For a particular location a given intersection design may have more pros than cons, but more cons than pros at a different location. Then again, what do I know?

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#91

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/18/2011 4:29 AM

Reading down through this blog, we appear to have:-

a) about 75% of stick in the mud, don't change anything, I'm happy as it is.

b) about 25% lets try something new, we cannot make it any worse than it is.

(I have added the "don't knows" in with the b) or they would have been about 2 of us only!!!

I am amazed that the US produces so much talent, ideas and inventions each and every year from such a large number of "I'm happy the way it is" people.

Kind of goes against the grain with me, but I sure cannot put my finger on as to why?......

Maybe is more a reflection of who is (online?) at CR4, rather than American Society as a whole....maybe this could open up a whole new blog on CR4?

I guess that expecting an average cross section of the USA on such a blog was really asking far too much.....but that Engineers are so stuck in their ways??

If I had made a bet on it, I would have lost!!!

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#92
In reply to #91

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/18/2011 5:52 AM

You say, " but I sure cannot put my finger on as to why?"

I think you were on the right track. There are approx 25 different contributors to this thread and not all American, so statistically you don't have a very good sample size of American Engineers or Americans in general to make a judgement that Americans are stuck in the mud. Nor are you contrasting the assertion that if a new idea was presented to a European country how they would react/accept/resist. Perhaps Americans are as stuck in the mud as Europeans, but on different topics.

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#93
In reply to #92

Re: Should Left Turns Be Illegal?

01/18/2011 6:45 AM

But its not as though we are asking the US people to try something that hasn't been tried and tested for "God only knows" how many years in Europe and other areas.....all problems have been soorted......( Germany and Spain at least had RAs about 50-60 years ago with priority to incoming traffic, grid lock!! It took Germany a long time to get that changed. I don`t know if Spain has changed as I haven't driven there for many years!, but when I was there in 1971, it was still wrong!).

So then I come back to the NIH problem mentioned before. Because it was not originally (or so it would appear) a US idea, its not wanted......

I found this article:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout

Which states:-

The first modern roundabout in the United States was constructed in Summerlin, Nevada in 1990,[6] and roundabouts have since become increasingly common in North America.

I also found this in that link, my underlining!:-

At the beginning of the 21st century, roundabouts are in widespread use in Europe. France, for instance, had more than 30,000 roundabouts in 2010.[15] They are much less common in the United States, where they started seeing limited use in the 1990s and face some opposition by a population unaccustomed to them. Nonetheless, there are about 2,000 U.S. roundabouts as of 2010, and their number grows rapidly.[15]

Perhaps we will see a change of US attitude in 50 years or so?

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